Australian couple says it took email from ABC7 News for SFPD to respond to car break-in

ByMelanie Woodrow via KGO logo
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
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It was a positive ending but one that everyone involved agrees shouldn't take a call or email from a reporter.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- An Australian couple on holiday who parked their rental car at the 350 Beach Street garage in Fisherman's Wharf for less than an hour say that thieves broke the glass and took everything inside.

"All our clothes, computers and little tablets, jewelry, medication, passports was the big one," said Tom Tschui.

EXCLUSIVE: San Francisco residents pleading with thieves to spare their vehicles

The break-in happened last Wednesday. ABC7 News was with San Francisco police at a meeting that same day for positive news. Car break-ins are down 14 percent year to date.

After the meeting, Deputy Chief Michael Redmond told ABC7 News if your car is broken into in San Francisco, police will come to your location to take a report.

"If people call officers we'll respond out and take reports. If they don't they should be calling multiple times," said Redmond.

ABC7 News met Kirralee Fitzpatrick and her boyfriend Tom Tschui right after that interview with SFPD last Wednesday. Their car had been broken into and they called the police non-emergency line.

"She said to us because the passports had been stolen, you need to go to the police station," said Tschui.

The couple also called Central Station the following day.

RELATED: SFPD says they will take report if your car is broken into

"They said that they didn't have the manpower at the time to investigate," said Fitzpatrick.

So ABC7 News Reporter Melanie Woodrow emailed Deputy Chief Redmond. He thanked her for bringing it to his attention and situation quickly changed.

"Within three hours we had our stuff back, some of our stuff back," said the couple.

Officers drove their now recovered passports, luggage and clothing to their hotel all the way in Monterey.

"I don't think it would have happened without your assistance," said Fitzpatrick.

A positive ending but one that everyone involved agrees shouldn't take a call or email from a reporter.

RELATED: Ashes stolen from tourists' rental car in SF reunited with family

"I feel for the people of San Francisco that have to deal with this every day," said Fitzpatrick.

Deputy Redmond wrote an email to Melanie that in part said, "This should not happen."

The couple did not get back their electronics and jewelry. Due to the ongoing investigation, police have not said where or how they found the couple's passports or luggage.

In April of 2017, ABC7 News met a young woman named Julia Wilkinson who was here to spread her father's ashes from Charlotte, North Carolina. She called police and explained her father's ashes had been stolen but dispatchers told her to fill out an online report.

After ABC7 News got involved and made a call to command staff, police did respond and, within days, recovered her father's ashes which she then took home to North Carolina.